Tax Alerts
Tax Briefing(s)

There is good news to offer in the form of an enhanced child tax credit.  Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), the child tax credit has doubled, increased the refundable portion, and expanded its scope to include dependents other than qualified children.  In addition, the TCJA broadened the pool of taxpayers eligible for the credit by significantly increasing adjusted-gross-income (AGI) phaseout ranges.  The following is an overview of the eligibility requirements and other changes to the child tax credit effective for tax years 2018 through 2025:


As you go about your daily life conducting business online, hackers are in the wings waiting to pounce and exploit one innocent miss-click, mistake or mismanagement of company data. Turning a blind eye or being in denial of the realities of cybercrime and data breaches can destroy your company’s brand and reputation. You must continually work toward protecting your business from cybercrime and you must monitor your systems and process 24/7 without fail.


In general, the new tax Act provides for stricter limits on the deductibility of business meals and entertainment expenses. Under the Act entertainment expenses incurred or paid after December 31, 2017 are nondeductible unless they fall under specific exceptions. One of those exceptions is for “expenses for recreation, social, or similar activities primarily for the benefit of the taxpayer’s employees, other than highly compensated employees.” (i.e. office holiday parties are still deductible). Business meals provided for the convenience of the employer are now only 50% deductible whereas before the Act they were fully deductible. Barring further action by Congress those meals will be nondeductible after 2025.


The 2018 dollar limit on the maximum permissible allocation under a defined contribution plan is $55,000. The maximum amount of annual compensation that may be taken into account on behalf of any participant under a qualified defined contribution plan is $275,000.

The 2018 limit on the maximum amount of elective contributions that a person may make in to a §401(k) plan, a §403(b) tax-sheltered annuity or a §457(b) eligible deferred compensation is $18,500. The limit on "catch-up contributions" for persons age 50 and older is $6,000.

The 2018 dollar limit on the maximum annual benefit under a defined benefit plan is $220,000.


As the school year ends, summer vacation offers parents and students alike the opportunity to focus on what may be their most considered subject: PAYING FOR COLLEGE. Many families commit unforced errors in their efforts to save and pay for hefty tuition bills.

Among the traps people fall into are:

  • Obsessing about school choice;
  • Thinking it isn’t worth it to apply for aid or scholarships; and
  • Not considering “529” college-savings plans.

States have become quicker to declare assets “abandoned” when account owners lose touch with a financial institution.  Although state laws vary, assets may be determined abandoned if the account owner has not made contact with the institution for three to five years.  These accounts consist of refunds, bank accounts, insurance proceeds and recovered goods, including cash, stock, bonds and other items that may belong to you. 


IRS Commissioner John Koskinen has asked companies to report patterns of fraud and for tax preparation firms to team up to fight return fraud.  Criminals are using stolen identities to claim refunds.


The Washingtonian has recognized Dalbert B. Ginsberg as one of the Washington Metropolitan area top Tax Accountants based on a survey of financial professionals and research conducted by the magazine.


New IRS guidance fills in several more pieces of the Code Sec. 199A passthrough deduction puzzle. Taxpayers can generally rely on all of these new final and proposed rules.


The IRS has issued interim guidance on the excise tax payable by exempt organizations on remuneration in excess of $1 million and any excess parachute payments made to certain highly compensated current and former employees in the tax year. The excise tax imposed by Code Sec. 4960 is equal to the maximum corporate tax rate on income (currently 21 percent).


The IRS has provided safe harbors for business entities to deduct certain payments made to a charitable organization in exchange for a state or local tax (SALT) credit. A business entity may deduct the payments as an ordinary and necessary business expenses under Code Sec. 162 if made for a business purpose. Proposed regulations that limit the charitable contribution deduction do not affect the deduction as a business expense.


The Treasury and IRS have issued final regulations for determining the inclusion under Code Sec. 965 of a U.S. shareholder of a foreign corporation with post-1986 accumulated deferred foreign income. Code Sec. 965 imposes a "transition tax" on the inclusion. The final regulations retain the basic approach and structure of the proposed regulations, with certain changes.


The IRS has issued its annual revisions to the general procedures for ruling requests, technical memoranda, determination letters, and user fees, as well as areas on which the Associate Chief Counsel offices will not rule. The revised procedures are generally effective January 2, 2019.